My Weekend, From Swag to Soup

My sister and I spent this past weekend with 4,500 fellow bloggers at the BlogHer Conference. The premise of our video was confirmed: we’re definitely a crazy bunch. The conference was as helpful and productive as I had hoped, but there were also a few surprises.

1. SWAG. So much swag (free stuff). And Jodie is the swag master. She moved through the expo center with admirable focus. She filled bag after bag with so much stuff that she starting referring to it as “shopping.” As in… this session is kind of boring, let’s go shopping. And so I followed her through the booths as she told vendors just what she thought. Have you ever tried Natural Bliss Coffee Mate, they asked. I have and I don’t like it, she told them. And then she took their coupons, chapstick, and samples. Then, we headed to the “drugstore” where we were handed full-sized bottles of Robitussin, Advil, Centrum, more Chapstick, Lysol Spray. Nail polish, fake eyelashes, charm bracelets, vibrators (I’m just reporting the facts here!) The list goes on and on and our bags got fuller and fuller. Thank you, Jodie, for teaching me the determination required for swag shopping. (See LTM today for a pic of me with a little swag of my own.)

2. I can be a bit of a coward. I got shy, nervous, embarrassed. My heart raced when I asked a question in front of a large group. I got totally awkward when super nice fellow bloggers asked if they can take a picture of my outfit. I froze when I was face-to-face with some of my favorite bloggers. Luckily, after a good pep-talk from my sister, I got my social butt into gear and interacted like a normal human being. It also helped when a mommy blogger, at my 8-person publishing roundtable, started breastfeeding her baby in front of all of us. Yes, it shocked me but really I envied her ability to just be herself.

3. Martha Stewart & Katie Couric are equally inspiring. I loved hearing both these incredibly bright, yet down-to-earth women speak. My favorite line from Martha: When asked what she’s terrible at, she said I’m only terrible at the things I haven’t tried. And with a laugh, if I tried them, I’d be great at them, of course. My favorite line from Katie Couric: I start every day on Weight Watchers, and I end every day off Weight Watchers. Can’t wait to see her talk show starting this fall on ABC.

4. Even when you are really busy and tired, it feels nice to make a home-cooked meal for your hubby and sister…. 

Fresh Corn Soup Topped with Roasted Corn Guacamole Epicurious | May 2009

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Roasted Corn Guacamole

  • Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn, or 2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped


  • Kernels from 5 ears fresh corn, or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups broth
  • Cilantro sprigs, to garnish

Roast the Corn for the Guacamole
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Put the corn kernels on the baking sheet and toss with the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Spread the corn out evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, until the corn turns a golden brown. It may seem that you have left the corn in the oven for too long, but you want the corn to caramelize and get a little crunchy. Remove the corn from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the Corn for the Soup
Put the kernels (fresh or frozen and defrosted) in a blender.
Combine the oil and the garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth. (You may need to pulse or stir the corn mixture in order to achieve a smooth consistency, but do not add any more liquid.)

Simmer the Soup
Pour the corn puree into the soup pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the soup begins to thicken. Slowly whisk or stir in the broth. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Finish the Roasted Corn Guacamole
In a bowl, combine the roasted corn, red onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and jalapeño. Gently stir in the avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and Garnish
Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a generous spoonful of the guacamole in the center of each bowl. Garnish with a small sprig of cilantro placed in the center of each.

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  1. This guac sound yummy delicious and totally going to make it. Thanks for this and nice meeting you at the conference!

  2. The soup sounds great. Loved the swag shopping story haha!

  3. loveumadly says:

    It was quite a scene. Drooling over the cookies on your blog, Amanda!

  4. I love sweet corn chowder and this soup look amazing!

  5. I made this for lunch (got here from the kitchn) and it was fabulous! Added a splash of lime juice at the end. Thanks for the recipe!


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